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American Bittern

American Bittern
Photo Information
Copyright: Tom Peak (tkp1165) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 156 W: 12 N: 595] (3876)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-02-16
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D 80, Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 DG EX APO HSM
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-02-16 16:50
Viewed: 2686
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This was Taken at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. There where three of them at the Refuge today. I was whatching this guy getting some small fish out of this little creek.

The American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae.

It is a large, chunky, brown bird, very similar to the Eurasian Great Bittern, Botaurus stellaris. It is 59-70 cm (23-27 inches) in length, with a 95-115 cm (37 - 45 inch) wingspan.

Although common in much of its range, the American Bittern is usually well-hidden in bogs, marshes and wet meadows. Usually solitary, it walks stealthily among cattails or bullrushes. If it senses that it has been seen, the American Bittern becomes motionless, with its bill pointed upward, causing it to blend into the reeds. It is most active at dusk. More often heard than seen, this bittern has a call that resembles a congested pump.

Like other members of the heron family, the American Bittern feeds in marshes and shallow ponds, dining on amphibians, fish, insects and reptiles.

This bittern winters in the southern United States and Central America. It summers throughout Canada and much of the United States. As a long-distance migrant, it is a very rare vagrant in Europe, including Great Britain and Ireland. This bird nests in isolated places with the female building the nest and the male guarding it. Two or three eggs get incubated by the female for 29 days, and the chicks leave after 6-7 weeks.

No subspecies are accepted today. However, fossils found in the Ichetucknee River, Florida, and originally described as a new form of heron (Palaeophoyx columbiana; McCoy, 1963) were later recognized to be a smaller, prehistoric subspecies of the American Bittern which lived during the Late Pleistocene (Olson, 1974) and would thus be called B. l. columbianus.

This bird's numbers have declined in the southern parts of its range due to habitat loss.

Many of the folk names[citation needed] are given for its distinctive call made by inhaling and exhaling large quantities of air.

Note From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pentaxfriend, CeltickRanger, eqshannon, mariki, Evelynn has marked this note useful
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Great iamge of this Bittern,
It blends in so well,
Very nice,


Good image, Tom.
I like the moment. Well composed.

Hi Tom,

Excellent shot
Great compo
perfect sharpnes, details and colors
Beautiful pose, POV and light

TFS Thijs

hello Tom

a superb image with excellent timing too shootthis American Bittern
at that pose, i love that pose, excellent POV & framing and
excellent sharpness and details of the plumage, TFS


This is a pretty keen capture Tom. Some days I tune page after page and then an image comes along of something or some way of looking...and this fits into that arena..I have heard of the bird by name and maybe somewhere run across a pic but past it by. Now I can put the notes and image together nicely...well done...it works for me!

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2008-02-16 18:27]

Great shot, excellent detail, very natural colours. The bird blends in nicely with it's surroundings. TFS

Hello Tom,
This is a very fine composition of the Bittern!
captured well in perfect exposure and focus with total sharpness, vivid colour and details
very pleasing

Nice colors in this one Tom... I like the pose and the crop very much. I love the markings on this bird especially the stripes on chest and neck. Lovely work.

Evelynn : )

My husband was discouraged that it took so long to get through Portland when he went up to Ridgefield the other day. He also found the refuge pretty crowded. He got a couple of nice shots though.

Hello Tom,

Very nice capture of this bittern. Very nice timing. Very good sharpness. Wonderful detail of the plumage. Good light and splendid colours.

Hi Tom

Great shot of the bittern. Well composed and a great pose in the reedbeds. You did well to get a clear shot. Excellent sharpness and POV.


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